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Life-saving radio campaign launches in Burkina Faso
Date:3/6/2012

Development Media International (DMI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are running a cluster randomised controlled trial of an innovative child survival intervention. The project is funded by the UK's leading science foundation, The Wellcome Trust, and the Planet Wheeler Foundation, set up by the founders of the Lonely Planet travel series.

On March 7th, DMI will launch a campaign which will run for 2 years and aims to save thousands of lives. The campaign involves the broadcast of health messages using radio spots (60-second adverts) and radio phone-in programmes. By broadcasting health messages that change the behaviours of pregnant women and new mothers, the project aims to reduce the large number of children dying before their fifth birthday in Burkina Faso.

"The project is innovative in three ways", says Roy Head, CEO of DMI. "Firstly, we're broadcasting messages on the most important underlying causes of death, not just individual issues. Secondly, we're broadcasting very intensively: ten spots per day, and two hours of phone-in programming every night on every station. Thirdly, we'll be measuring the impact more rigorously than has ever been done before. We're hoping to prove that we can change behaviours on a scale large enough to save a lot of lives."

The first radio spots to be broadcast this month will promote exclusive breastfeeding a behaviour which reduces the risk of a child dying from diarrhoea or respiratory infections. The spots will be broadcast on seven community radio stations in Burkina Faso which have partnered with DMI to deliver the campaign.

DMI has worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to produce a mathematical model, based on the Lancet's Child Survival Series, which calculates the number of lives that can be saved by a comprehensive media campaign. The model predicts that a campaign can reduce childhood mortality by 15-20% per year, by the third y
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Contact: Cathryn Wood
cathryn.wood@developmentmedia.net
44-203-058-1635
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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